Chocolate Guinness Cake

27 Dec

I feel as though it is about time I gave a shout out to THE Chocolate Guinness Cake.

Anybody reading this who knows me will probably not need to continue, as it has been made so many times by my own fair hands and those belonging to the love that they could make it themselves without the recipe, by recalling each taste and surmising from that which ingredients need to be used. And, if any of you own ‘Feast’ by Nigella Lawson, surely you have made it countless times yourself?

In any case, on the off-chance of one poor soul not having tried or at least heard of this cake, I am writing to bestow upon you the knowledge to enrich your life.


I first made this on Saint Patrick’s Day, I think last year… although it seems much longer ago than that…

Since then, it has been made into muffins; half-sized cakes; loaf cakes… all about as deeply damp and chocolatey as anybody could possibly wish for. Ever. I have also used natural yoghurt in place of the sour cream, which has worked just as well. We are actually getting sick of the requests to make it, as it reduces the opportunity to try anything new! (Yeah right).


You will use a whole block of butter. There is a reason for this: heaven.

Cuts into 12 slices (the perfect amount to pour into a 12-hole muffin tray!).

  • 250ml Guinness
  • 250g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 75g cocoa
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 x 142ml pot sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp real vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the Icing:

  • 300g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar, sieved
  • 125ml double or whipping cream

Before you get started, make sure all of your ingredients are weighed, ready and waiting to be used. I believe it is better to work quickly in the initial stages of this recipe, as the cake is on the hob, and if left to heat for too long before it is ready to go in the oven, it looks like a cake before it’s in the tin. Surprisingly, the end result doesn’t really suffer from this, but I feel more comfortable if the cake still resembles mixture before it is baked.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c, and butter a 23cm springform tin. 
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan. Add the butter and heat until it has melted. Then whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
  3. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then pour into the pan.
  4. Whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
  5. Transfer the cake batter to the tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean).
  6. Leave to cool completely in the tin. Meanwhile you can make the icing.
  7. Beat the cream cheese and sieved icing sugar together, then add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. I like to do this in a food processor, because if I don’t, for some reason I always bung all 3 ingredients in a bowl without thinking, and this does not make it easy to achieve the desired consistency.


Of course, the icing is meant to resemble the froth on top of a pint of Guinness. And yes, the Guinness does make a fantastic difference and it is noticeable, though people trying it unawares may not be able to put there finger on what ‘that taste’ is. I would describe it as a sweet and subtle bitterness, which creates the most amazing depth of flavour.

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